Telangana CM Says BJP Should Be Thrown Into Bay of Bengal For Spreading Hatred, Farmers’ Union Wants BJP Punished In Elections
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) continue to remain silent in the face of rising anti-minority atrocities and Hindu supremacist attacks nationwide, a growing number of Indian politicians and civilians are raising their voices in criticism of Modi and the ruling party.
On February 1, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao declared that the BJP needed to be “thrown into the Bay of Bengal” for spreading hatred against religious minorities and dividing the nation for political gain.
Unless the BJP was voted out of government, Rao said at a press conference, “this country can’t progress… BJP is a misfortune to happen to this country.”
In election-bound Uttar Pradesh, where BJP leaders have made it a campaign strategy to spew anti-Muslim vitriol to score points with a growing Hindu nationalist voter base, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), a coalition of farmers’ unions, have announced a campaign to urge voters not to support the BJP. Farmers have been united in protesting the BJP since 2020, when majority-Sikh farmers rose up in protest against Modi’s harmful farm laws.
“Farmers’ organizations will campaign in every block, village, and district in the upcoming days to urge the voters to punish and defeat the BJP,” SKM representatives said at a press conference. In a written appeal, SKM slammed the BJP as power-hungry and driven by greed.
“The BJP government does not understand the language of truth and lies, does not understand the difference between good and bad, does not know the difference between constitutional or unconstitutional. This party understands only one language – of vote, seat, [and] power,” said the appeal.
Minority rights are heavily at stake as Uttar Pradesh gears up for its assembly elections. Currently controlled by the BJP, Uttar Pradesh’s senior state government officials include vicious Hindu supremacists, including Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who is close friends with Modi, and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Mayura, who openly defended Hindu supremacists’ “right” to call for a genocide of 2 million Muslims.
Delhi Court Grants Bail To 2 Hindu Extremists Accused Of Murdering 85-Year-Old Muslim Woman
The Delhi High Court has granted bail to two Hindu supremacists, Arun Kumar and Ravi Kumar, who are accused of murdering an 85-year-old Muslim woman, Akbari Begum, as part of a Hindu extremist mob during mass violence in February 2020 in the Indian capital, Delhi.
According to Mohammad Saeed Salmani, Akbari Begum’s son, the Hindu extremist mob gathered around his home, chanting communal slogans. The extremists then broke the locks of the home, barged in, looted 8,000 rupees ($110) in cash along with gold and silver jewelry, and then set the home on fire.
Salmani said his family ran upstairs to the roof to escape the flames, but his mother Begum could not climb due to her age. She died of asphyxiation from inhaling smoke as her home burned.
In June 2020, the Delhi Police filed a chargesheet against six people: Arun Kumar, Ravi Kumar, Varun Kumar, Vishal Singh, Prakash Chand and Suraj Singh. All have been charged with rioting, unlawful assembly, murder, attempt to murder, dacoity with murder, mischief by fire, trespass, causing disappearance of evidence, disobedience of public servant’s order and common intention under the Indian Penal Code. Why Arun Kumar and Ravi Kumar were granted bail is unclear.
Out of 758 riots cases relating to the deadly 2020 Delhi pogroms, charges have been filed for 361 of them. Violent Hindu extremist mobs killed nearly three dozen Muslims during the days’ long violence. BJP leaders encouraged the anti-Muslim violence with slogans such as “shoot the traitors to the nation.”
Muslim Man Jailed For ‘Love Jihad’ After Traveling With Female Hindu Friend
Asif Shaikh, a Muslim man who was dragged off a train bound to Rajasthan state by members of the dangerous Hindu supremacist group Bajrang Dal, continues to languish in jail under false charges of “forceful religious conversion” and “Love Jihad.”
Love Jihad is conspiracy circulated by Hindu supremacists to claim that Muslim men have an agenda to seduce and marry Hindu women to convert them to Islam.
A video of the incident shows Shaikh being dragged off a train by Bajrang Dal men, some of them striking him, accusing him of trying to forcibly convert Sakshi Jain, the Hindu woman he was traveling with.
In another video of the incident, Jain was seen shouting at the Hindu extremists, saying, “Your one misunderstanding will spoil my life. I work as a teacher and teach children.”
Jain has stood firm in her testimony that Shaikh is a family friend and that he intended her no harm. However, police have disregarded her testimony completely and continue to hold Shaikh in jail, despite the protests of her and Shaikh’s family.
A judge also denied Shaikh bail after the police claimed “his bail may create furor and communal tension may erupt,” showing how the Indian judiciary has become crippled by the infiltration of Hindu extremist ideologies.
“The jailer first refused to fix an appointment upon hearing Asif’s name and then claimed that he has tested COVID-19 positive. For all I know they may kill my son in the garb of COVID inside the jail and we will have no way to find out,” said Mumtaz, Shaikh’s mother.
Even though no evidence has been provided to back the “Love Jihad” conspiracy, Muslim men are increasingly targeted by Hindu vigilantes for doing as little as speaking to a Hindu woman. Hindu women targeted by this law are stripped of their agency, and accused of being “seduced” into marrying Muslim men rather than being respected for their decisions.
Member Of Hindu Supremacist Paramilitary Group Arrested For Harassing Christian Nuns
A member of the Hindu supremacist paramilitary group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Ganesh Babu, was arrested in Tamil Nadu state after he and a mob of 20-30 Hindu extremists physically and verbally harassed two Christian nuns. The News Minute, an Indian news publication, reported that Babu and other extremists snatched the nuns’ mobile phones and their two-wheeler motorbike. The men also accused the nuns of forcibly converting Hindus to Christianity.
Following Babu’s arrest, Hindu supremacist groups in the area protested, demanding his release. Because many Hindu supremacists are able to walk free after just a slap on the wrist for heinous attacks against minorities, it is likely that Babu will not face any real consequences for his crime. Additionally, despite the fact that 20-30 fellow extremists witnessed and encouraged the attack, no one other than Babu was arrested.
Accusations of “forced conversions” are often baseless claims that are weaponized by Hindu extremists to attack Christians with impunity. In states where anti-conversion laws are in place, Hindu extremists have become even further emboldened, ramping up attacks against Christian churches, homes, families, and faith leaders all over the nation.
Editor Says News Channel Shut Down For Being Critical Of BJP, RSS
C.Dawood, Managing Editor at MediaOne TV, a prominent Malayalam-language news channel that was shut down by the Indian government’s Information & Broadcasting Ministry (I&B) last week, believes MediaOne was shut down due to the channel’s critical, objective coverage of Modi, the BJP, and the RSS.
On January 31, the I&B Ministry cited vague and baseless “security concerns” to justify its shutdown, despite the fact that the channel has won many awards and accolades, including from the State Government.
“Our editorial policy has been critical of the policies of the Union government including CAA and National Register of Citizens (NRC). We have also been critical of the communal politics of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the parent organization of the BJP,” said Dawood.
Members of Indian Parliament from Kerala have also protested the shutdown, going as far as to meet the I&B minister and raise their concerns with him personally. In a series of powerful statements, the lawmakers slammed the BJP for their “undemocratic” attack on press freedoms.
“This sudden suspension without informing the reasons is gravely undemocratic. [The] Union government should be held accountable for it,” said senior Congress Party leader K. Sudhakaran.
“This is not an attack on MediaOne alone, nor is it an isolated incident. It has wider implications for everyone. This is just the tip of the iceberg. And if we choose to remain silent now, we will be later accused of permitting worse days,” said Indian Union Muslim League MP ET Muhammed Basheer.
“Tomorrow any media channel can be attacked. Last week almost 200 YouTube channels [were] banned. These are BJP’s political moves of silencing differing and disagreeing voices. We all are nationalistic. It is not BJP alone that can define what nationalism is,” said MP Shreyams Kumar.
“Take away your hands that tried to silence MediaOne. We can never accommodate such undemocratic moves of the central government. If BJP values democracy or press freedom, then they must revoke the ban on MediaOne,” said MP Binoy Vishwam.
Since Modi became prime minister in 2014, freedom of the press has sharply declined as hundreds of journalists and media channels have come under direct attack, often for calling out Modi and the BJP for their blatant displays of anti-minority hatred, tolerance of genocidal rhetoric, attacks on pluralism, and overall fear of legitimate criticism.
Currently, India ranks at 142 on the 2021 World Press Freedoms Index, according to the watchdog organization Reporters Without Borders.